David Frankenberger is a Managing Partner of the Ericksen Arbuthnot Fresno and Bakersfield offices – a title that is fit but not fully encompassing of everything he does. We were connected to David through our good friend Pamela Pettus of The Gavel, and we were so thrilled to connect and learn more about this attorney powerhouse.
David has been in the legal industry for several decades, an admirable trait that shows his commitment and dedication to his work. In addition, he is AV® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell and recognized by Thompson Reuters as a Super Lawyer in 2016 and 2017. If that rating were up to us, we’d probably give him a lifetime award.
We had the opportunity to hear from David on why he does what he does. Whether you’re an industry vet or an incoming associate, David’s words will inspire you.
You are a premier attorney with extensive experience. How did you know this was your calling and when did you realize that you made the right decision?
I attended law school with a plan in mind (like so many before me) to become an entertainment and sports attorney. However, during the 1st semester of my 2nd year in law school, I took a “products liability” class taught by an adjunct professor and litigator from San Diego. I liked the professor and almost immediately grasped the subject matter he was teaching that semester and, for the first time in my life, really found myself to be engaged and vocal in a classroom. At that point, I decided that I’d become a civil litigation attorney upon graduating from law school and passing the Bar Exam.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your many years of litigation defense?
To always be honest, with other members of the bar, with the court, and with my colleagues inside at the office. This is a service industry and, at the end of the day, all that we have in this industry is our reputation. Mistakes will happen; after all, we are all human. Our mistakes don’t, however, define us – it’s what we do after our mistakes which makes the difference and matters most.
What is a platform or belief you stand behind and believe that others in the industry should, too?
Civility, professionalism, and purpose. Lawyers are advocates and advisors for our society. We work to represent individuals and corporations in civil trials, and to promote justice in criminal trials. Likewise, a good business attorney will provide vital assistance in almost every aspect of a business, from basic zoning compliance to copyright and trademark advice to formal business incorporation and lawsuits and liability. We need to do a better job, industry while of promoting these ideals and highlighting the efforts of attorneys who do something right for the benefit of our society.
Do you have advice for law students or newer attorneys in regards to how to survive in the industry?
For law students, I provide practical advice: Live a modest life when in law school; don’t waste resources and save money as best you can. Law school is expensive and, due to the amount of new attorneys coming out each year, basic supply and demand principals dictate that you probably won’t make a lot of money your first few years after graduating and passing the bar examination in your chosen jurisdiction. For newer attorneys, my advice is to be respectful of your elders, be willing to work long hours, keep your head down, and take really good notes. We generally think that we “know it all” upon passing the bar, but, in reality, we’ve hardly begun to scratch the surface of the knowledge and experience it takes to succeed in this profession.
What is one thing you do every day that you believe contributes to your success?
I pride myself in responsiveness. It doesn’t matter how late it is — or where I am geographically – I always find time to promptly recall phone calls and emails, with a mindset to never leave any of my clients or colleagues hanging.